Last year Claira was biking with training
wheels. She could do pretty well, but the Po Kong Village
Road Park requires two wheels to go on the big loop. This
year, Claira wanted to go on the big loop. The bike park
was much busier than last year - a school group had arrived were
generally learning to bike. The bike rental still had bikes
free, but it took a while to get on the road. Claira's bike
had some deficiencies (one brake handle didn't work and the other
worked poorly) so we had to trade it in for a second one.
Once we got the bikes sorted, we went out onto the larger loop
track. This is the first bike ride with both parents and both
kids together. The track has great views but it also has some
hills which quickly tire out smaller bikers.
After biking at Po Kong Village Road Park,
we decided to have lunch at a near by conveyor belt sushi place
and then walk back to the train (MTR). The route happened to
take us past Wong Tai Sin Temple and the kids wanted to see.
The temple has a large number of beautiful
statues outside the main courtyard.
Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve
Last year I visited the Fung
Yuen Butterfly Reserve in the afternoon
and had a great time
spotting butterflies. This year I decided to take the kids
and have a visit. The weather wasn't as good (many
butterflies come out for warmer weather) and we didn't stay as
long (be reasonable with kids), but I still had a good time.
Yes, there are butterflies and other flying insects and if you are
patient, you can get some nice photos. I'm shooting with a
longer lens (400mm) with a teleconverter that gives me closer
focusing. I have a 100mm macro lens, but many of these
animals fly if you get too close with a short lens.
Helen and kids really enjoyed seeing the reptiles.
Kam Shan Country Park
Kam Shan Country Park is
sometimes called Monkey Mountain because it's the place in Hong
Kong where you are most likely to see monkeys. It's
surprisingly close to Mong Kok - grab a bus on Nathan road and you
are there in less than 30 minutes. The monkeys in Hong Kong
have had a tough life - many of them a descendants of abandoned
pets and they have long been fed junk by people. Apparently
they have tried harder to enforce "no feeding" rules, but that has
sometimes made the monkeys aggressive. There are warnings
not to bring your lunch in a plastic bag.
We walked to a shelter with a small parking lot and found a bunch
of monkeys hanging out. We waited a few minutes and sure
enough, a car came by and people dropped off food. The food
was orange peels in a plastic bag, but it was enough to start
fights by the monkeys. The younger monkeys went flying for
the trees, the older ones tried to hold ground.
a few minutes, the troop of monkeys moved into the forest and
another troop came down the road to replace
them. We went for a little hike to see to see
what the rest of the park looked like.
down the road, you find some picnic areas but I can't image how
you could eat your food outside with so many monkeys around.
There were some pocket views of the reservoirs and lots of
stabilized (covered in concrete) slopes. Not planning to
make it a long day, we turned back to the park entrance and got
back on a bus.
Mai Po Marshes
This is something like my fifth
visit to Mai Po Marshes, the third in the same few weeks of
A real treat for me this year was to see the Black Faces
Spoonbills up close. Our shelter was busy, but as the tide
came in, so did the birds. There were 20 spoonbills in the
water but one in particular was ranging closer to shore.
Flower Show at Victoria Park
Victoria park is a massive park on the Hong Kong Island side next
to the shops in Causeway Bay. It hosts a few majors show - a
massive Chinese New Years market and a flower show in the
spring. We went to see the flower show once before so I knew
what to expect. I could take the kids by myself and let
Helen go shopping for a few hours in Causeway Bay.
In 2013, just off the airplane, we took Claira to the Flower
Market. She was about 10 months old and wasn't walking
consistently. We got her to stand with help from her sister
and Mom. The kids saw the picture on my phone and wanted to
try and do an updated version:
Our course being silly, they wanted to do a version where Claira
was helping Nara stand.
are a lot of different things to see at the flower show.
There are large displays put on by city works, tourist attractions
and foreign countries.
The show goes on for more than a
week so most of the flowers are planted, not cut. Because we
were there early in the show, many of the flowers were still in
really good shape.
The kids got hot so
we found a large tent with a stage and kids watched videos.
While they cooled down, I wandered around some of the smaller
exhibits showing Ikebana and creative + flowers projects.
The event is really setup for photographers. They had a huge
mural + foreground elements so you could take make believe photos
of people in Amsterdam. They had large fields of tulips for
photographers to take "flowers forever" type shots you would
normally get on a tulip farm. They had wall displays of
flowers at the right height to be backgrounds for your family
photos. The only challenge was the crowds - there were so
many people there who wanted to take photos.
were tired of flowers and Mom was nearly done shopping so we want
into Sogo for crazy expensive ice cream. You can buy a soft
serve ice cream at a Mr. Softy truck for about $2.50 CDN.
These ice creams were from Hokido and cost about $7 CDN.
Every kid is an ice cream expert - I think they can tell the
Biking Kowloon West Cultural District
The kids enjoy biking and it's
nice and warm (but not too hot) in Hong Kong so we decided to try
a second bike ride, this time at Kowloon West Cultural
District. Details were a little thin - there is a kiosk (two
converted shipping containers) that rent bikes and helmets to
kids, and a bike rental card system for adult. Bike rentals
turned out to be cheaper than Po Kong Village Road Park and the
bikes were in pretty good shape.
West Kowloon Cultural District
is basically a park and sea wall cut off from the rest of Kowloon
by the entrance to the West Tunnel linking Kowloon and Hong Kong
Island. The place was basically empty and has amazing views
of Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong Disneyland
We went to Hong Kong Disneyland last year so we had some idea of
what to expect on a visit. From Mong Kok, we take three
trains and about an hour to get to the gates. Last year we
bought our tickets at the gate and waited perhaps 15
minutes. This year we bought them online and save ourselves
a few minutes. We were in the park for the rope drop.
Where did the kids want to for their first line free ride?
The Carousel. We were first on - I believe we were the only
on first the first ride.
After the ride, the kids turned around and got on the next ride
carousel ride - still no line up! After our secondride, a
line had formed so we decided it was time to find other
Claira and Nara did
remember some of the rides from last year and wanted to go on the
boat ride again. Last year it was a bit much (the
kids got scared) but this year they knew what was coming and
enjoyed it. They were uncertain if the animatornics were
real people and animals or not and as parents, we didn't give
Claira being a bit bigger and a lot more adventuresome, we could
go on rides that we didn't go last time. We tried our first
flying ride (dumbo) and the kids really liked it. In each
car there is a joystick to go higher and lower so splitting over
two cars allows each kid a control. We tried the "It's a
small world" ride (lots of bright colours and scary animatronic
Another new one for
us was the mad hatter cup ride. I get seasick just looking
at it, but Helen and Jenny were both willing to give it a
Sunset is fast in Hong Kong. The kids
love hotdogs so we had a quick dinner to get a last ride on the
Of course you can't exit Disneyland without
walking through the gift shop. In our case this was
literally true - the castle was closed for renovations and the
fastest way to walk to main street was through a gift
shop. Our kids chose this moment to decide they wanted to
spend their money on Disney.
A Day at Disneyland is intense for kids and as much as we wanted
to stay for the last parade and fireworks, the kids were too
tired and we still had a long train ride ahead of use. We
took some photos before the parade arrived and started the trip
Hong Kong Walls
Something new! The Hong Kong Walls
project is a yearly art project where a neighborhood gets an
upgrade - large walls are covered with street art. It's well
organized - building owners need to volunteer the surfaces and the
artists are given a few weeks to paint. The event started
just before we left so we really only got to see the start.
This year the neighborhood is part of central and it has no
shortage of art already on the walls.
The event has a google map you go on a scavenger style hunt to
find the locations that will be or are painted. This was
nearly the last day of our trip but the first day of the Hong Kong
Walls event so we found a lot of blank walls. That said,
central has a lot of graffiti already so there was lots of work to
see as we walked around.
Our final destination turned out to be just starting
painting. The artist had a huge wall to work with and with a
little hand waving, I got my kinds to help paint the
undercoat. It's always good to have your kids participate.